Quick, without checking – tell me how you’d make a cup of tea.
Chances are you’d say you’d boil water, pop a teabag in your favourite mug, pour the boiling water over the teabag, and let the tea steep.
That was the accepted wisdom, yes. But according to an Australian scientist, you’d be wrong. The best way to brew tea, his study showed, is to microwave it.
Dr Quan Vuong from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales has been working on figuring out how best to extract the healthy compounds in tea and other natural products since 2012. He found that microwaving tea for half a minute extracted the most caffeine, theanine, and polyphenols from a mug of tea. It also “generated the best taste” to boot.
Here’s his method, courtesy of ABC News:
- Put hot water in the cup with your teabag.
- Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on half power.
- Let it sit for a minute.
Polyphenols are antioxidant-rich compounds that are linked with a range of health benefits such as a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes and lowered cholesterol. Theanine is an essential amino acid that is believed to reduce stress and anxiety while promoting a sense of calmness. And caffeine is… well, you know caffeine.
So for a stronger, tastier, and healthier cup of tea with more of a kick, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds!
According to Dr Vuong, this method works for both herbal and black teas, though he didn’t mention how it fares with more delicate green or white teas which do better when steeped at a lower temperature.